K-12 students in Edmonton’s public system can learn online again for the first half of the 2021-2022 year, but will lose their connection to a local school if they extend it the full year.
Parents will need to choose between in-person or online instruction based out of the local school they are enrolled in, but by January the district expects all students will be back in the classroom. Any children who opt to be online for the whole year will be enrolled at Argyll Centre, a fully-online K-12 school run by the district. The district will only allow for the choice once, before school starts.
Assistant Supt. Kathy Muhlethaler says its important parents know choosing the full-year online option means losing the child’s spot at the school they’re currently enrolled at, and it won’t be held for them the following year.
“That’s particularly schools that are a lottery school or an entrance criteria school, or their program of choice school that’s oversubscribed in those programs of choice,” she said. “It’s really important for parents when they’re making an informed decision, to reach out to their principal to ask those questions, so that they’re making the decision that’s right for their family.”
Pre-enrolment runs from March 8 to April 15 and parents will need to choose their school. Between June 21 and August 12, families who don’t choose Argyll Centre will decide whether they want online or in-person learning for the first half of the year.
Ready to go back
Muhlethaler said parents should think about whether or not they feel comfortable having their kids return to in-person learning next January if it is safe to do so, or if their child prefers learning online and excels there.
She said the district is ready if more children want to come back for in-person studies in the fall and have solid health measures in place, but they wanted to give options.
“I have to tell you: teachers want their kids back. You walk into your school and you feel the energy of the school environment, I think we have kids who are doing online learning and are really missing their friends and missing that interaction,” she said.
“But we just felt for that first half of the year that we have to give options for families. There’s families that are feeling really confident … and there may be families that aren’t ready for that move.”
Muhlethaler said changes could happen depending on if the government changes health precautions. In that case they would open up the choice to be online or in person again, and parents would be told about this in December, she said.
More to come…